Floodwaters have begun to recede in Texas where Tropical Storm Imelda left heavy rainfall in parts of Houston this week. Five people were killed after the storm made landfall last week in the same area left devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Through it all, one 21-year-old college student managed to keep his head up and work 32 hours straight all by himself to help guests who were stranded by the flooding at the hotel where he worked.
After the storm made landfall last week, bringing heavy rainfall to the area, Satchel Smith and 90 other guests at the Homewood hotel in Beaumont, Texas became trapped by rising floodwaters. Angeles Chandler, a guest who was staying at the hotel and trapped along with Smith and the other guests, posted about Smith's cheerful attitude and praised his composure, calling him a 'hero' for helping them get through it all while his co-workers were prevented from getting to work.
"Meet Satchel. He is the only employee here at Homewood Suites in Beaumont. The access road is underwater and I10 is shut down due to flooding. We can’t get in or go out. The hotel a mile from us is under water. Satchel has been here all night," Angela wrote in her Facebook post. "His coworkers couldn’t make it to work so he stayed. He has manned the phones, answered each of our questions, ensured that we have had a hot cup of coffee or tea, and helped serve us a hot breakfast. He has handled this situation with grace, kindness, and a beautiful smile on his face."
Despite the brave face he put on for the guests, Smith told CNN that the experience was "pretty intense."
Smith, who usually only acts as a front desk agent for the hotel, was suddenly called on to fill multiple roles, including chef, maintenance man, room service attendant, and anything else that might need to get done - even when he didn't quite know what he was doing.
"I'd never worked in a kitchen," he said. "I'm not really a good cook."
Some of the guests pitched in, assisting Smith with the cooking, and other tasks around the hotel. At one point, Smith and the guests braved the floodwaters to help get food and water out to truckers in their rigs who were stalled by the floodwaters.
By Friday, one of Smith's co-workers was able to make it in to work and he was able to catch a nap, before waking up and helping again before his family could safely return and pick him up.
"What an example of how to handle yourself in a crisis! Goodness gracious! I will stay here next time just knowing that despite whatever happens, I will have someone putting our needs above his own needs. Thank you Satchel for taking care of us here at Homewood in Beaumont," Angela wrote.